Saint Petersburg - Borussia Dortmund have one foot in the door of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals after registering a seemingly unassailable 4-2 win in the first leg of their last-16 tie away to FC Zenit St Petersburg.

The Russian league leaders were up against it from the get-go after Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marco Reus scored inside five minutes to put Dortmund firmly in the driving seat. Although Oleg Shatov and Hulk got on the scoresheet in the second half, Robert Lewandowski’s clinical brace effectively ended any lingering hopes Zenit might harbour of turning the contest in their favour in three weeks’ time.

Dortmund at the double

The hosts were paying BVB striker Lewandowski so much attention early on that they forgot to pick up Mkhitaryan, who couldn’t miss after a lung-busting run from Reus set up the opening goal just three minutes in. It got even better for last year’s runners-up 60 seconds later as Mkhitaryan and Kevin Großkreutz combined to hand Reus his third Champions League goal of the campaign.

Luciano Spalletti’s game plan laid to waste, the Zenit coach sought to stem the flowing Dortmund tide with the introduction of former FC Bayern München holding midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk. Like his ring-rusty team-mates, however, the veteran Ukrainian international was left chasing shadows as Lewandowski left Nicolas Lombaerts on his haunches and forced an important save from Yuri Lodygin at his near post.

Shatov pulls one back

Zenit striker Hulk took it upon himself to lift spirits inside the Petrovsky Stadium, but the Brazil international failed to seriously test Roman Weidenfeller from range. Reus went within a lick of paint of adding his second following an eye-catching exchange with roaming Polish international right-back Lukasz Piszczek at the other end, before warming the palms of Lodygin with a trademark free kick.

The Zenit goalkeeper was called on again at the start of the second half, beating Lewandowski’s stinging drive around the post and later scrambling Tymoshchuk’s heavy back pass into touch. Schwarz-Gelben counterpart Weidenfeller had for the most part been a spectator, but when Dortmund failed to snuff out Hulk's cross, Shatov reduced the arrears in emphatic fashion after Rondon’s initial effort had come back off the post.

Lewandowski brace

Momentarily shaken, BVB delivered the perfect response on the hour mark when Lewandowski wriggled clear of his marker, played a neat one-two with fellow Pole Piszczek and directed the ball under the feet of the crestfallen Lodygin. That should have spelled the end for the hosts, but the Russians hit back courtesy of Hulk’s bar-shaking penalty after Piszczek was adjudged to have brought down Viktor Fayzulin.

Zenit hadn’t learned their lesson, though, and were chasing the contest yet again two minutes later, with Lewandowski collecting the ball from Reus and sweeping into the net from 12 yards. With the clock ticking down, Hulk took the bull by the horns, but Weidenfeller was in no mood to relinquish his side’s handsome, two-goal cushion ahead of next month’s second leg.


Zenit: Lodygin – Anyukov (Smolnikov 84’), Lombaerts, Neto, Criscito - Shatov, Fayzulin (Kerzhakov 84’), Witsel, Arshavin (Tymoshchuk 15’) - Hulk, Rondon

Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Sokratis, Friedrich, Schmelzer - Kehl, Sahin – Reus (Hofmann 84’), Mkhitaryan (Aubameyang 70'), Großkreutz (Durm 90’) - Lewandowski

Goals: 0-1 Mkhitaryan (3’), 0-2 Reus (4’), 1-2 Shatov (57’), 1-3 Lewandowski (60’), 2-3 Hulk (68’), 2-4 Lewandowski (70’)

Christopher Mayer-Lodge